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Costessey development provides a cautionary tale

PUBLISHED: 14:31 18 November 2011

Local councillors Vivienne Bell and Tim East on the Queen's Hills site.
Photo by Simon Finlay

Local councillors Vivienne Bell and Tim East on the Queen's Hills site. Photo by Simon Finlay

Archant © 2011 01603 772434

A large housing development in Costessey, which began with high hopes of new homes, amenities and a school, has become a cautionary tale of dissatisfaction and disillusionment.

Eight years ago, the 45-hectare site at Queen’s Hills was expected to have no more than 1,365 homes, with investments in community facilities pledged as part of the original planning permission.

A consortium of landowners who secured the agreements sold the land to Cofton Ltd, who were to lead the development and co-ordinate the provision of infrastructure.

Cofton had a wrangle with South Norfolk Council over “piecemeal development”, and it was then taken over by administrators Deloitte in March 2009, throwing homeowners into a world of uncertainty.

Currently, there are thought to be about 700-800 homes built, with hundreds of thousands of pounds in promised infrastructure money not spent. Norfolk county councillor for Costessey Tim East said: “The concept was that it should be a part of Costessey and there were 20 community benefits that were supposed to be included that would be of benefit to the wider Costessey area, but that’s not happened.

“All we have is the primary school. None of the other things, like play parks, have been delivered and we can’t get our hands on the money.

“I am sympathetic with residents and I share their sense of complete frustration.”

Now there are hopes that widespread residents’ anger could be eased by a transfer of £675,000 from the administrators to the parish council, which wants to spend the money on a new community centre for the area.

Mr East said: “We cannot allow people to buy homes and be left in effectively what’s a building site. We’ve got to push it, and there will be some good news relatively shortly – I am praying there will be.”

Browse our “Urban Sprawl or Vital Growth” section for stories on the growth plans of the GNDP (Greater Norwich Development Partnership).

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